The North-east German Lowlands is a region with one of the
highest forest fire risks in Europe. In order to keep damage levels
as low as possible, it is important to have an effective early
warning system. Such a system is being developed on the basis of
a hydrogen sensor, which makes it possible to detect a
smouldering forest fire before the development of open flames.
The prototype hydrogen sensor produced at the Humboldt
University Berlin has a metal/ solid electrolyte/insulator/
semiconductor (MEIS) structure, which allows cost-effective
Due to the low energy consumption, an autarchic working unit
could be installed in the forest. Field trials have shown that it is
possible to identify a forest fire in its early stages when hydrogen
concentrations are still low. A significant change in the signal due
to a fire was measured at a distance of about 100m.
In view of the potential impacts of climate change, the innovative
pre-ignition warning system is an important early diagnosis and
monitoring module for the protection of the forests.